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Work by Jessica May Gilbert [NO]

Work by Jessica May Gilbert

7 June 2018

'It's even okay to not know what category you fall into straight away': Jessica Gilbert on creative experimentation and development

Degree Show Spotlight Series

Textiles in Practice student and Manchester School of Art Degree Show 2018 exhibitor Jessica Gilbert shares her inspirations and experiences working with the art school community and industry.

Jessica is part of our Degree Show series, which highlights some of the talented students exhibiting in the Manchester School of Art Degree Show. Want to find out about more students taking part? Read the profile of Jessica’s fellow Textiles in Practice student Becky Mars.

Uniting the conceptual and the everyday

My practice interrupts the everyday by highlighting the idiosyncratic every day, so my approach to textiles is a very open-minded one, I allow my work to take the most appropriate format.

My creative process involves a lot of thought, with my work been so conceptual. Textiles in Practice has guided me in finding the varied outputs these conceptual ideas can become, whether that be through material explorations, zines, drawing and collage or photography.

Exploring and developing techniques

Textiles in Practice has allowed me to let my creativity take the lead, the course allows you to be a million and one things, and it’s even okay to not know what category you fall into straight away.

Since studying at Manchester School of Art, I’ve not only learnt creative processes that include embroidery, print and drawing techniques, but I have learnt what it means to be an artist or designer outside of art school.

Experiencing industry

On the course, we are encouraged to have awareness of the world we want to enter. I have worked on opportunities such as been commissioned by Bruntwood, which I pitched to the external client and worked with them to create site-specific work inspired by 21st century industrial Manchester.

I pitched and was successful in getting the opportunity to display my work in the Vertical Gallery during the Degree Show, which has allowed me to work on what would have been an unimaginable scale. It has also opened up conversations with external companies such as GMB printers located in Manchester.

Taking inspiration from the School’s creative community

Because of the way the Manchester School of Art studios work, I believe that we are all collaborating with each other every day. The open studio environment encourages cross-disciplinary conversation and collaboration.

I’m really inspired by the overlooked ‘art school material’ that you come across around the Benzie Building, I often take this as my starting point and create work inspired by or literally with it, so I have collaborated with many students, I just don’t know who they are!

The work that I produced at the beginning of third year was inspired by an anonymous call and response collaboration that I launched within the art school. The responses I received were hilarious and bizarre, it really highlighted that ‘art school community’ that is so important.

You can see Jessica’s work in the Manchester School of Art Degree Show from 9-20 June.